‘As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.’ — 2 Corinthians 6:10
As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he was having to combat the teaching of others who were undermining his authority and message. They used various letters of recommendation and external means of authenticating themselves.
Paul, on the other hand, appealed to some ‘unconventional’ marks of his ministry – mainly the sufferings He endured and His ability to keep on going despite them. In v.4-5, he says we approved ourselves as ministers of God in all things:
- in much patience
- in afflictions
- in necessities
- in distresses
- in stripes (beatings)
- in imprisonments
- in tumults (riots)
- in labours
- in watchings
- in fastings
He did all of this by pureness, knowledge, longsuffering, kindness, the Holy Ghost, genuine love, the word of truth, the power of God, the armour of righteousness (v.6-7).
Finally, he talks about the paradoxes of Christians ministry in verses 8-10:
- honour and dishonour
- evil report and good report
- considered deceptive and true
- unknown and well known
- dying and living
- chastened yet not killed
- sorrowful and always rejoicing
- poor and making others rich
- having nothing yet possessing all things
What a joy it is to suffer and labour for the Lord and to know the grace that helps us to continue. The fact that we are able to continue and be joyful in trials is evidence of the Lord’s work and grace in our lives!
Welcome to the ministry. Welcome to sorrow and joy, poverty and wealth, emptiness and fulness, death and life!